Army chief General Bipin Rawat on Wednesday said China was “salami slicing” its way into Indian territory gradually. He also said that the country needs to be prepared for a two-front war, referring to Pakistan, the Hindustan Times reported.

“As far as the northern adversary [China] is concerned, flexing of muscles has starte,” General Rawat said. “[Chine is] salami slicing, taking over territory in a very gradual manner, testing our limits of threshold...[It] is something we have to be wary about and remain prepared for situations that could gradually emerge into conflict.”

The Army chief made the statement at a seminar organised by defence think-tank Centre for Land Warfare Studies, about a week after India and China withdrew their troops from the Sikkim sector’s Doklam area to end one of their worst military standoffs.

“Whether these conflicts will be confined or limited in space and time or whether these can expand into an all-out war along the entire front [remains to be seen],” the Army chief said. “...The western adversary [Pakistan] taking advantage of the situation developing along the northern border is very much likely.”

He also stressed on the need for the Army to maintain its supremacy “in a joint services environment”, The Hindu reported. “Wars will be fought on land, and therefore the primacy of the Army must be maintained,” General Rawat said. “The other services – the Navy and Air Force – will play a very major role in support of the Army, which will be operating on the ground because no matter what happens... A war will be won when we ensure territorial integrity of the nation.”